“And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13
Hope gets short shrift, in my opinion.
Is it any wonder, the way we throw the word around? Hope is deemed lame in our “go-getter” culture. If there are people who make things happen, people who watch things happen, and people who ask what happened, the middle group comprises “hopers”. Passive and without influence. At least that’s what our times have made of hope.
Not so Scripture. The Bible gives hope a place of honor.
By definition hope is the feeling that what is wanted can be had. For example, Abraham of the Bible wanted an heir. It was the most important thing in all the world to him. He was wealthy and well-reputed. His wife was beautiful. His household was a tree of life to many. But the person to whom he would leave his legacy was a servant, not a son. When God Himself appeared to Abraham, saying, “I am your shield, your exceeding great reward”, all Abraham had to say in response was, “I’m childless. What will You give me. What else matters?”
Then and there under a starry desert sky, the Lord promised to give Abraham the only thing that really mattered to him, a son. Abraham believed Him, and the Bible says God considered Abraham righteous because of it (Genesis 15:6). Later Paul would write that Abraham hoped when there wasn’t any reason to hope (Romans 4:18). Paul drew the conclusion that Abraham was strong in faith because he didn’t dismiss the notion he’d be a father, even though his and Sarah’s bodies were long past child-bearing. Paul restates the claim that God counted Abraham’s belief as righteousness (Romans 4:19-22).
Hmm. Hope deemed as righteousness? Don’t hear that much.
Maybe it’s just hard for us to separate hope from faith – they’re so closely related. Is there any faith that isn’t born of hope?
If the LORD God told you He was your shield, your exceeding great reward (He has, hasn’t He?), what would your response be? Would you, like Abraham, have the cheek to say, “Well, what about this and such? It’s important to me, Lord. What about it?”
What is it that’s really, really important to you? What is the thing that matters more than anything else? Is there something as important to you as Abraham’s desire for a son was to Him? Maybe it’s the very thing God is waiting for you to ask Him about. Maybe He’s waiting for you to believe He’s good enough to give it to you.
His still, small voice speaking in your heart may be the catalyst to spark the belief that what you want actually can be had. Who knows where that kind of hope will lead? In Abraham’s case it led to a nation. It led to another Son. Then, it led to you and to me. Abraham, our father.
So, please, let’s consider these three: Faith. Hope. Love.
May they all cross the finish line.
© Melissa Kay Simonds